Charters School to close early on Fridays due to 'significant financial pressure'

A leading secondary school in the Royal Borough has announced it will be closing early on Fridays due to ‘significant financial pressure’.

Parents at Charters School received a letter last week detailing its plans to close at 1.30pm on Fridays instead of 3pm from September 2019.

Richard Pilgrim, co-headteacher of the Sunningdale school, wrote in the letter: “Schools across the country, including Charters, have since 2010, found themselves under significant financial pressure due to a combination of reduced per pupil funding and rising costs.

“We have kept in contact with you over the years explaining the pressures we are facing as a school, due to the money we receive per pupil, reducing year-on-year, and pension costs rising.”

He added that the academy school, which caters for more than 1500 pupils, had to ensure it operated ‘within its financial means’.

Cllr Simon Dudley, leader of the Royal Borough, said the increase in pension contributions for state sector staff was proving to be a ‘very significant’ problem for schools.

He said he planned to arrange a meeting between Charters and the council’s children’s services provider, Achieving for Children, in a bid to understand the school’s financial challenges.

“We just need to understand what’s going on, it’s a very large school so it should be financially resilient,” Cllr Dudley said.

“We are going to be very supportive of the school, like all of our secondary schools in the borough, and we’ll be looking for potential solutions which could include lobbying the Department for Education for more funding.”